Many laws exist to help minors (under age 18) at work.  These laws:

  • Keep kids in safe jobs;
  • Ensure that kids are not overworked;
  • Prohibit discrimination;
  • Provide for decent pay.

Some rules apply to all minors.  Other, more restrictive, rules apply to people who are under the age of 15 (see below).

*This article does not cover the topics of taxes or work permits.*

Rules for Everyone Under 18

Minors are completely forbidden from working in certain dangerous jobs.  However, there may be an exception that would allow a minor to work in an otherwise prohibited job.

A minor cannot work at (or near) the following jobs:

  • Blast furnaces
  • Docks or wharves (other than marinas where pleasure boats are sold or served)
  • As a pilot, fireman, or engineer on any vessel or boat engaged in commerce
  • Railroads
  • Erection and repair of electrical wires
  • Distilleries where alcoholic beverages are manufactured, bottled, wrapped, or packed
  • The manufacturing of a hazardous substance (such as dangerous or toxic chemicals or compounds)
  • Cleaning, oiling, or wiping of machinery
  • Any occupation forbidden by any local, state or federal law
  • Any occupation which after investigation by the Commissioner is deemed injurious to the health and welfare of the minor.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-213

Fire & Rescue Volunteer Exception - Minors may work as unpaid volunteers in a fire station or rescue squad if they are:

  • at least 16 years old, and
  • taking (or have completed) a course about firefighting or rescue work.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-203

Entertainer Exception - If a minor gets a special work permit, he or she can work at any age as a model, performer, or entertainer.  The application and permits are available only at the Baltimore Office of the Maryland Department of Labor.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-207

Time Restrictions

  • Minors cannot work for more than 5 consecutive hours without a nonworking period of at least one-half hour.
  • Usually, the total school and work hours of a minor cannot be more than 12 hours.
  • Minors must have at least 8 consecutive hours that are not school or work hours.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-203

Other Restrictions

Money Handling Restrictions - Minors are not allowed to be employed to carry to or from a business, money (in any amount) between 8:00 at night and 8:00 in the morning. In addition minors cannot carry to or from a business, more than $100 during the day (8:00am-8:00pm). These rules do not apply if the minor:
  • is a child of the manager, operator, or owner of the business, or
  • is carrying money that the minor received for doing their job.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-212

Age 14 or 15

In addition to the jobs prohibited above, a minor that is fourteen or fifteen years old cannot work in the following jobs:

  • about or in connection with an acid, dye, gas, lye, or paint
  • at, about, or in connection with:
    • an airport
    • a brickyard
    • a lumberyard
    • a workroom or work site where goods are manufactured or processed
    • scaffolding
    • a vessel when engaged in navigation or commerce; or
  • in, about, or in connection with:
    • construction
    • an occupation that causes dust in an injurious quantity
    • a manufacturing occupation
    • a mechanical occupation
    • a processing occupation
    • the adjustment, cleaning, or operation of power-driven machinery except unless it is an office machine or machinery used in a school
  • any occupation "deemed injurious by the Commissioner after investigation

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-213

Time Restrictions

Fourteen and fifteen year olds cannot work:

  • before 7:00 a.m.
  • from the day after Labor Day through the day before Memorial Day, after 8:00 p.m.;
  • from Memorial Day through Labor Day, after 9:00 p.m.; or
  • more than:
    • 4 hours on a day when school is in session;
    • 8 hours on a day when school is not in session;
    • 23 hours in a week when school is in session for 5 days; or
    • 40 hours in a week when school is not in session.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-211

Under the Age of 14

Maryland law prohibits children under the age of 14 from working. 

There are some exceptions.

A child under the age of fourteen may perform the following types of work, if the work is performed outside of school hours:

  • Farm work performed on a farm.
  • Domestic work performed in or about a home.
  • Working in a business owned or operated by your parent or guardian.
  • Working as an unpaid volunteer, in a charitable or non-profit organization, employed with the written consent of a parent or guardian.
  • Caddying on a golf course.
  • Teaching on an instructional sailboat.
  • Manufacturing evergreen wreaths in or near a home.
  • Delivering newspapers to the consumer.
  • Working as a counselor, assistant counselor, or instructor in a youth camp certified under the Maryland Youth Camp Act.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-203; MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-209



Updated by www.peoples-law.org/contributors

Escape Now Button: 

Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2017.”

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.